By Barry Janoff
June 20, 2016: With less than seven weeks until the start of the Summer Olympics, Visa has gathered its squad of athletes and marketing partners for what it called its "most-global campaign to-date," "Carpool."
The multi-layered campaign features some 20 members of Team Visa from around the world — including Team USA members Carli Lloyd, Missy Franklin, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Ibtihaj Muhammad.
The effort highlights Visa's status as an official partner with the International Olympic Committee, its 30-year sponsorship of the Olympic Movement and new payment innovations and other ways in which Visa will have a presence in Rio de Janeiro during the Games (Aug. 5-21).
In all, Team Visa includes 46 Olympic and Paralympic representatives and hopefuls from around the world.
The campaign is anchored by a two-minute spot that shows members of Team Visa preparing for and then embarking on a road trip to Brazil.
Visa said it extended the creative theme of “Carpool” in North American market by working with three major merchant partners — Best Buy, Costco and United Airlines — to create custom “Carpool” spots for each brand.
In addition to TV, the campaign includes print, Internet, mobile, and social media that will "amplify the campaign during critical times throughout the Olympics."
Visa said the two-minute spot was shot in the U.S., Brazil and Japan and includes input from such markets as Africa, Australia, Canada, Central Europe, Latin America, Mexico, Middle East and New Zealand.
It will run globally with "each market featuring a different 'Carpool' sequence that highlights local Olympic athletes using a variety of payment technologies, making it Visa’s most-global campaign to-date," according to the company.
Lead agency is BBDO, NY.
Visa said it would also host "fun, experiential activations onsite to drive local product and merchant preference."
The spot shows athletes using technologies such as Visa Checkout, Samsung Pay and chip cards. It is scheduled to air in more than a dozen different versions worldwide.
In Rio, Team Visa athletes will be able to use an NFC-enabled payment ring to make purchases by "simply tapping their ring at any NFC-enabled payment terminal."
According to Visa, the "Carpool" campaign features "more athletes, more ways to pay, more geographies and more marketing channels than any other Olympic Games campaign in Visa’s 30-year sponsorship of the Olympic Movement."
“Visa is a leading global payment technology brand that has always stood for acceptance,” Lynne Biggar, evp/chief marketing and communications officer for Visa Inc., said in a statement. “Our commitment to acceptance ensures you can use your Visa card whether you click, dip, tap or swipe to pay."
In the Best Buy spot, Ashton Eaton (USA, decathlon) and his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton (Canada, track & field), show off their speed and competitiveness in pre-Olympic Games by shopping on the Best Buy Web site using Visa Checkout.
A Costco spot shows Kerri Walsh Jennings (USA, volleyball) and English Gardner (USA, track & field) using their Visa card to stock up on the latest summer goods they find in a Costco warehouse.
A humorous custom spot for United Airlines we see Ashton Eaton, Ibtihaj Muhammad (USA, fencing), Carli Lloyd (USA, soccer) and Missy Franklin (USA, swimming) use Visa Checkout on United.com for last-minute flight purchases.
"Our campaign reflects the broader aspects of acceptance — demonstrating Visa’s support and celebration of athletes across cultures, geographies and sports."
Other members of Team Visa in the extended campaign include Valerie Adams (New Zealand, shot put), Terezinha Guilhermina (Brazil, Paralympic Athletics), Jennifer Abel (Canada, diving), Pamela Ware (Canada, diving), Alison Cerutti (Brazil, beach volleyball), Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa, athletics), Daiya Seto (Japan, swimming), Kanako Watanabe (Japan, swimming) and Maria Espinoza (Mexico, taekwondo).
"(The campaign) goes far beyond product acceptance," said Biggar. "Our Olympic ‘Carpool’ campaign reflects the broader aspects of acceptance — demonstrating Visa’s support and celebration of athletes across cultures, geographies and sports."
Other official IOC partners include Atos, Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Toyota.
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